A-League aspirants South Melbourne have lined up Real Madrid greats Roberto Carlos and Chendo as their coach and technical director-in-waiting should they be granted entry into an expended competition.
Chendo, 55 - Madrid’s general manager and an assistant coach under Zinedine Zidane - is South’s would-be technical director, while 2002 FIFA World Cup winning Brazilian Roberto Carlos has been earmarked as South's inaugural A-League coach.
The potential coup is testament to the club’s soaring ambitions, with advisory board chairman Bill Papastergiadis meeting Chendo - Miguel Porlán Noguera, who made 363 appearances for Real and 26 for Spain – on a fact-finding mission to the club’s training base three months ago.
Roberto Carlos, who won four La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions Leagues with the Galactictos, has been on the lookout for a coaching role since leaving Indian Super League outfit Delhi Dynamos in 2015.
The 43 year old was initially linked with a stint in Australia before exiting India, having previously managed Akhisar Belediyespor and Sivasspor in Turkey.
He has also worked with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
“We have also commenced negotiations with Roberto Carlos as coach. Roberto has also said he would be interested in coaching South,” said Papastergiadis.
“He thinks Australia is a growing football country and he would like to be a part of it, and that South would be a great entry into the league.”
The link between South and Real Madrid has been forged with clashes between their junior teams, with Papastergiadis working behind the scenes to take it to another level.
“I met with Chendo at Real Madrid headquarters back in September and spoke with him at length," he said. "He was very interested in a technical development role at SMFC.
“He said he knew of SMFC and I would love the challenge of working with a club of our standing."
Chendo declared: "It is the Oceania club of the Century and has excellent junior players.
"I could implement a whole club training program from the seven-year-olds to the seniors. It would be a great challenge and experience for me work with SMFC.
“I have a vast amount of knowledge from working in the greatest club in the world; I would like to make use of that in a club that has a proud history in Australia.
"When I toured Australia with Real Madrid a few years ago, I fell in love with the country. I think Melbourne is marvellous."
Chendo has spent his entire career with Real Madrid and was a member of the Spanish team in two World Cups.
He has won seven La Liga crowns, two Copa del Reys, one Champions League and two UEFA Cups.
Papastergiadis, who was also introduced to Zidane and Real’s players on his Spanish odyssey, believes the willingness of Roberto Carlos and Chendo to embrace South adds a layer of kudos to their bid to join the A-League elite when the competition jumps to 12 teams in 2018-2019.
“We are excited and thrilled that we have some of the greatest names in international football who wish to be a part of South’s resurgence," he said. "The club’s reputation allows it to attract some of the biggest names in international football.
“South should be the next A-League club.
"It has the best football facilities in Australia, the best junior development program, set the attendance records in the previous NSL and now has people with the best international qualifications wanting to lead the club.
"The A-League needs a club of South’s stature."